Open Source

By Mike Gifford on 16/10/2018
The Government of Canada (GC) hosted Open First Day on Friday, September 28.  It was a really interesting opportunity for hundreds of people in public/private sector to get together and share their experiences.  
I’d like to start by congratulating them on the title of the event.  It wasn’t Consider Open Source Day or Learn about Open Source and Government Day.  It Was Open First Day. Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source and Open Government.  
The site for this conference was also forward thinking as it was all built on GitHub.  More and more government microsites are hosted on GitHub...
By Mike Gifford on 01/06/2018
Screenshot of CKEditor with a sample image.
After writing this article I learned about IBM’s Content Clarifier from Hassell Inclusion. Something like this could be built right into the workflow of your content creation process.
Accessibility (a11y) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is complex, but it doesn't have to be hard. If you have a good routine in place, you can write content that can be compelling for everyone.
So much can come down to the KISS Principle "Keep it simple, stupid". Like everything else in life, there are a lot of exceptions. Much comes down to doing your best to learn how to do it better. I have included some...
By Mike Gifford on 27/05/2018
Crowd on Canada Day
The GDPR is in effect. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law that is now in effect. This affects all organizations that service European citizens. In North America, most organizations only became aware of it recently.
The policies of the GDPR are quite broad and establish a bold Privacy by Design framework. Ann Cavoukian published the 7 Foundational Principles of privacy nearly a decade ago. At the time she was the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. Since this time the amount of personally identifiable information (PII) has...
By Mike Gifford on 11/05/2018
Speakers at the meeting to produce a Canadian version of the OECD Playbook for ICT Procurement
Everybody wants their website to be accessible. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is key for any modern organization. In the Government of Canada, it is a clear part of the Liberal Party's mandate. Setting a strong policy direction is critical, but then what?
Most departments still see accessibility as a one-liner that can be added to an ICT contract. Then the responsibility for any shortfalls lies on the vendor.
Sadly, this doesn't work. Accessibility is a journey, not a destination.
Web accessibility is complicated, the ecosystem and use cases change over time. So what can...
By Mike Gifford on 09/05/2018
Cenotaph in Ottawa - Symbols of Privacy & Freedom
The tech sector has undermined personal privacy in the constant pursuit of the latest shiny thing. Privacy is a core component of our democracy and is essential for free expression.
Most have assumed that it is built into the online tools that they use every day. This isn't the case. The media coverage of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook how dangerous this is. The model of surveillance capitalism put forward by Google is now very advanced. Big Data & Artificial Intelligence gives businesses more insights than Big Brother dreamed possible.
Many people are coming to the realization that...
By Mike Gifford on 18/12/2017
Civic Tech Night at Rebel.com - YOWCT
I have been very encouraged by the growth of Open Government initiatives around the world. It’s done so much to help make governments more agile, responsive, accessible and affordable. Success of this model depends on a community of contributors, most of who who lie outside of government. This means that they also fall outside of the hierarchical chain of command.
How the public sector engages with that community may well determine how effective these initiatives are.
Supporting contributors
Governments don’t have either the mechanism or capacity to give money to people who contribute good...
By Mike Gifford on 02/10/2017
Photo from B Corp Retreat outlining need for interdependence.
OpenConcept is a pretty small company and most of our services we consume are digital, so in the scheme of things, we have a pretty small footprint on our planet and our local economy. That being said, as Mahatma Gandhi said “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."
I just returned from my second B Corp Champions Retreat and I am even more enthusiastic about being able to leverage our small contributions to make a much bigger impact. I believe strongly in fixing the problems at the source, and many of our societal problems boil down to consumption...
By Mike Gifford on 13/06/2017
A friend using his eye-tracking software
Originally posted on LinkedIN in two parts.
Building Digital Inclusion into Organizations
There are an increasing number of organizations that are looking to make their organizations more inclusive to People with Disabilities (PwD). Some organizations do this because they are seeking talent, others because of ethics and still others because it is the law. There are lots of little steps that any organization could do to include more people with disabilities. This is a description of an approach for an organization that wanted to demonstrate leadership.
Accessibility is a big field and although...
By Mike Gifford on 12/06/2017
Canadian Flag Behind Chicken Wire
Originally posted on LinkedIN in two parts.
The Government of Canada’s Web Renewal Initiative has failed. It may not be public yet, but there really is no way to redeem this half-conceived initiative to centralize all government pages onto a single website - Canada.ca.
This goal was lifted from the UK Government’s Government Digital Services (GDS). The goal of the GDS team was no less than digital transformation. Our government appears to have mistaken the alpha.gov.uk site as the end goal, rather than a platform with which to experiment with new ideas in government usability. The GDS is...
By Mike Gifford on 02/12/2016
This article was initially posted as a guest blog on The Digital Echidna Blog on November 29, 2016.
So you’ve gone all out on making your website accessible. You considered accessibility at every stage of your project. You started by choosing Drupal. You then evaluated the wireframes for potential problems, took careful consideration that the colours had sufficient contrast, had your developers do regular accessibility checks with every sprint, brought in an external reviewer at the end of the project to evaluate your work, etc.
It was the textbook example of how you should approach building...

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